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Could Ten Hag appointment lead to Manchester United response in the Premier League?

It's another big day of Premier League action on Saturday, with five matches to look forward to including a standout clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Original article published 29 August 2022

Arsenal and Manchester United have had some epic battles over the years and, although they are not the title challengers they once were, there is still plenty riding on their latest clash.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will look to try and increase their lead at the top of the standings when they play host to a Watford team that are looking doomed to relegation.

Red Devils demand a response

Some pundits described Manchester United's 4-0 midweek defeat at Anfield as their worst display in over 40 years and it led the hierarchy to make a managerial announcement.

It was well known that Erik Ten Hag was the man lined up to take the Old Trafford hotseat from next season, but the United owners decided this week was the time to confirm it.

With a top-four place still up for grabs, United will hope the announcement has the desired effect on some players, who will be playing for their futures.

A win on Saturday, against a top-four rival, could be crucial for the club's plans for the next couple of seasons with the prospect of Champions League money.

It's a similar situation for Arsenal, who go into this clash off the back of an impressive 4-2 win at Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Mikel Arteta will feel a win for the Gunners will kill off United's top-four hopes and the hosts will be buoyed by the recent head-to-head record again their opponents.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last three home games against United (two wins and one draw) and have lost just one of the last six meetings - a 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in December and Ralf Rangnick has revealed that the Portuguese ace will play a part in Saturday's early kick off.

Recent form sees Arsenal 21/20 to take all three points, with United available at 5/2 and the draw priced at 5/2.

City out to make a statement

The defending champions are back on top after their midweek win over Brighton and Manchester City will look to put more daylight between themselves and Liverpool, who don't play until Sunday.

Watford are the opponents on Saturday (15:00) and the Hornets head to the Etihad having lost their last 14 games against City and on the brink of relegation.

The Hornets' last three visits to City have seen them concede 17 goals and score just once, with Raheem Sterling the main scourge of Watford. The England international has scored nine goals in the last seven meetings between the two sides.

City won the reverse fixture 3-1 and the same scoreline is available at 12/1.

A win for Pep Guardiola's men will see them open up a four-point lead over Liverpool, with City then hoping playing first will heap some extra pressure on Jurgen Klopp's squad ahead of their Merseyside derby against Everton.

Leicester can add to Villa concerns

It's an all-Midlands affair at the King Power Stadium on Saturday (15:00), as Leicester and Aston Villa meet with contrasting recent form.

The Foxes, helped by a European run, have improved in recent weeks and they go into this game with just one defeat in seven in all competitions.

It's a different story for Villa, who have dipped in form with four straight defeats seeing Steven Gerrard's men drop to 15th in the table.

As ever, this game will be billed as Gerrard against Brendan Rodgers, who were player and manager at Liverpool and then went head-to-head as managerial rivals at Rangers and Celtic respectively.

It was Gerrard who got the better of his former boss last time, with Villa winning 2-1 in the reverse fixture at Villa Park in December. The visitors are available at 6/4 to clinch a league double, while Leicester are 9/5.

Newcastle can hammer another nail into Norwich's hopes

The gap is now eight points between Norwich and safety with defeat on Saturday (15:00) to Newcastle likely to mean the end of their latest foray in the Premier League.

One win in 10, at this crucial stage of the season, is the run of a team that doesn't believe they can survive in the top flight and they now face a rejuvenated Newcastle team.

The Magpies have won their last three, keeping two clean sheets in the process, and are 19 points ahead of their opponents and now eyeing a top-half finish.

Some shrewd January purchases have made a massive impact at St James' and they are looking for a first win at Carrow Road since 1994, with the away victory available to back at 23/20.

Brentford can put the breaks on Spurs' Euro hopes

Saturday's late game (17:30) sees Brentford go in search of four consecutive wins and, in the process, dent Tottenham's hopes of making the top four.

The Bees have been inspired by former Spurs ace Christian Eriksen, who in just six games has turned the team's season around and cemented their place in the top flight for next term.

The irony would not be lost on Tottenham fans if it was the Dane that inspired Brentford to victory, as Antonio Conte seeks a response from his players.

The shock 1-0 defeat to Brighton last weekend offered fresh hope for the chasing pack, although it is Tottenham who still occupy that final Champions League place.

Two previous meetings in the last year - in the Premier League and League Cup - have not only seen Spurs win both games but Brentford have also failed to score.

But this is a Thomas Frank team brimming with confidence and looking for another big scalp.

Brentford are 10/3 to claim the three points, while Tottenham are 17/20 and the draw can be backed at 5/2.

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